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Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes // Community Review

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alt-jTomorrow’s Modern Boxes //

Radiohead frontman and iconic dancer Thom Yorke turned an otherwise normal Friday into a worldwide listening party last week with the surprise release of his second solo record, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.

Distributing the eight-track collection through a BitTorrent paygate for six bucks, Yorke has gone beyond his criticism of modern music streaming by attempting to change the game. The album was downloaded 116 thousand times in the first 24 hours, with over 500,000 total downloads so far. So, is it any good?

Click here to get Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.

BAM TEAM META-RANKING:
3-5-bams_fix2

Thom Yorke is marveled as a musical superhero, and although his solo works are somewhat predictable, his reverence for sustaining and creating a practical business model for artists on the Internet is greatly respectable. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, inspired by this very concept, is like an anesthetic. It’s hypnotic and easy to get lost in, and at times has the listener popping in and out of consciousness with its moody, lo-fi beats and enchanting vocals. It lacks some of the catchier tracks (“The Eraser” and “Black Swan”) from his last effort, The Eraser, but overall it’s a pleasant surprise and should hold over most Radiohead fans until their next album. -Anthony Presti
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: A Brain In A Bottle

Thom jumps straight out the gates on this stealthy release. His ever-evolving love for bass-laden electronic music is clearly evident within the first minute of Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, and doesn’t let up in this sublimely paced mini-LP that is sure to wet the whistle of Radiohead and Yorke fans, alike. Shifty samples are layered over warm keys and haunting piano segments – a pairing that Thom and co-producer, Nigel Godrich, have become extremely fond of in the past decade or so. Yorke’s past adoration for Aphex Twin combined with his current love for artists such as Mark Pritchard, Actress and Pearson Sound are clearly defined in this futuristic amalgam. Can we expect these elements present in the impending Radiohead release? One can only hope…. -Kevin Quandt
4 BAMS // Top Song: Guess Again!
 
It’s no secret that Thom Yorke has a thing for electronic music. The Radiohead frontman, after all, has been known to stage a surprise DJ set from time to time, including one in LA as recently as last month. Quite fittingly, the unanticipated release of his second solo record late last week via BitTorrent Bundle comes as quite a surprise after news surfaced just a few weeks ago that Radiohead had begun work on their ninth studio album. But if Radiohead’s new material ends up sounding like what Yorke delivers on Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, then we may not have as much to look forward to as we think. Minimal in nature, the eight-track album sees Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich playing with both sound and song structure as glitchy dance beats pave the way for strange and amorphous melodies, but it’s under these circumstances that Yorke’s experimental propensities can sometimes get the best of him. -Josh Herwitt
3 BAMS // Top Song: Nose Grows Some

The percussion-driven polyrhythm & syncopation from The King of Limbs and Amok continues to evolve here, but Yorke’s voice is treated more as an accompanying instrument in his second solo effort. Yorke is experimenting with technology and modulation techniques about as much as his marketing and distribution, and it plays mostly as a dreamy soundscape mirrored against spicy, digitized freak-out exhileration. Full of rewarding moments, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes induces spaced-out bliss along with a deflated back third of the record — except for finale “Nose Grows Some,” which is one of the best songs in the litter. -Mike Frash
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: The Mother Lode

Following the pattern begun with The Eraser, Thom Yorke continues with laptop whirls, blips, and even less melody. Relying more heavily on groove, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes carries the same general attitude as both its predecessor and Radiohead’s recent direction. The album feels redundant and its flow monotonous, satisfying but not thrilling or electrifying. -Steven Wandrey
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: A Brain In A Bottle

Thom Yorke’s latest solo album comes at you like a commuter train, at a moderate but reliable pace… and this is not a bad thing by any means. Though it doesn’t re-invent the wheel, the steady, hypnotic rhythms and characteristically tasty vocals make this a very pleasant album to listen to. I can easily see many of the cuts standing on their own in a club setting, just as much as I can see the rush to remix them with more break beats. Well done. -Andrew Pohl
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: Guess Again!

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